Religion

Christian Bed-And-Breakfast Fined For Refusing Gays

| by Michael Allen

Jim Walder and his wife were ordered on March 22 to pay $30,000 to a same-sex couple and $50,000 to their lawyers for refusing to allow a gay civil-union ceremony in 2011 at the TimberCreek Bed-and-Breakfast near Paxton, Illinois.

Walder denied the request by Todd and Mark Wathen, and lectured them via email about their "gay lifestyle," and said "it's not too late to change your behavior."

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In addition to the fines, Michael R. Robinson, an administrative law judge, ordered Walder to obey the Illinois Human Rights Act, which forbids this type of discrimination, notes The News-Gazette.

"We are very happy that no other couple will have to experience what we experienced by being turned away and belittled and criticized for who we are," Todd stated.

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"In addition, the monetary award represents a recognition by the judge that Mark and I suffered a real harm -- that we were embarrassed and humiliated," Todd added.

Walder said in November 2015 during a hearing that he would not allow same-sex civil unions or weddings, regardless of state law, and added: "The principle in the Bible for Christians is that Christians need to follow the law unless it contradicts [the Bible]."

Robinson also ordered the Walders to allow the Wathens to use the bed-and-breakfast within one year to celebrate their civil union.

Walder issued a statement to The News-Gazette that said in part:

"To be absolutely clear, we cannot host a same-sex wedding even though fines and penalties have been imposed by the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Our policy will not be changing.

"We are not looking for a fight, but when immoral laws are purposely passed (or deemed constitutional) that blatantly conflict with God’s Word and when the heavy hand of government tries to force us as Christians to embrace sinful behavior, we have a moral obligation to resist and stand for Biblical truth. 'It is better to obey God than men.' -- Acts 5:29."

Acts 5:29 does not mention discriminating against gay people in business or embracing sinful behavior, but rather quotes Peter and the other apostles who told some high priests -- not the government -- that they would not stop preaching about Jesus.

Sources: The News-Gazette, BibleGateway / Photo credit: Jenny Mealing/Flickr, CJF20/Flickr

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